How to set up a Smartphone or Tablet for your children


When your child is restless, what do you do? You probably give them your phone or tablet to play with. It’s a great way of providing ample entertainment and access to your kid’s favourite shows and movies.

Lest we forget - phones and tablets are predominantly for adult use. This means children might accidentally (and sometimes purposefully) access something they shouldn’t. In order to keep your child safe using a browser or app on a mobile device, it would be useful to look into the readily available controls you can use to monitor your child’s phone or tablet usage, as well as other popular apps you can download.


Parental control apps at a glance

There are various parental control apps you can use to manage your child’s use of their smartphone or tablet. In this guide, we’re going to look at the two most commonly used and readily accessible applications - Google Family Link and Screen Time. 

If you want to ensure your child doesn’t make a load of app purchases or access inappropriate material online, then it’s worth looking into the apps below and downloading the one that’s right for you:




Where can I get it?

Google Family Link


Get Family Link

Screen Time

FREE - but may have to pay for additional storage

Get ScreenTime


Each child device:

MyFamily   = £22.08

MyFamily2 = £14.48

MyFamily3 = £12.24

MyFamily5 = £13.80

Get Family Time


Qustodio Premium Small = £26.95

Qustodio Premium Medium = £35.95

Qustodio Premium Large = £64.95

Get Qustodio


Basic = FREE

Standard = £23.67 per year

Professional = £72.65 per year

Get KidLogger

Kaspersky Safe Kids


Get Kaspersky Safe Kids


How to set up an Android phone for your child


Google Family Link

Google has a product called Family Link. Its motto is to “help your family create healthy digital habits”.

In order to get Family Link working you’ll need your own Android device running KitKat version 4.4 at the very least, and your children’s device with Android Nougat version 7.  You can also use it on Apple devices with iOS 9 or higher if you don’t want to use Apple’s version - Screen Time. 

To find the version of Android you’re running, scroll to the bottom of your Settings app and tap “About Phone/Tablet”.

If you want to set up parental controls on your own device and let your child use it, the best thing to do is create a separate account with a pass lock on it. 


Set up Family Link

  1. Open the family link app from your phone first
  2. Create a Google Account for your child and follow the instructions
  3. Enter your child’s name, birthday and gender (the latter being optional)

On your child’s phone:

  1. Place both your phone and your child’s phone together when asked to do so
  2. Open and log into the Family Link app with your child’s Google Account login details


App management

Parents can see which apps they think are suitable for their children to access or download via the Play Store. It can also keep on top of what apps are downloaded.

If your child wants to download an app, you’ll receive a notification that allows you to approve or block. Any apps existing on your child’s device can also be monitored or even blocked if you feel they’re unsuitable.

Surfing the Web

Don’t want your child going on certain websites? You can enable a feature called SafeSearch, which will automatically prohibit any sites that are unsuitable, plus you can add your own URLs to the prohibited list.

Remote Locking

If you’re worried your child is on their phone too late at night, you can actually lock certain apps after a certain time of day.  This way you can prevent your child from being glued to their phones and instead spend quality time with family and friends (or doing their homework!).

Screen time limits

Much like remote locking, you can decide the amount of screen time your child gets per day. You can set a time to prevent further use of their phones unless it’s for an emergency. 

Smartphone activity monitoring

If you want to see how often your child uses their phone, you can request weekly and monthly reports from the Family Link app to monitor their usage. If you’ve noticed a bit of slack lately in the school department, these reports might just be the thing that sheds light on it!

How to set up an iPhone for your child

Apple devices have a fantastic built-in feature that can give you control over what your child does/doesn’t have access to

Screen Time

Screen Time is a feature within your iPhone or iPad’s Settings app. As the name suggests, you can monitor the screen time of your device. 

If it’s your child’s phone, you can select “This is My Child’s [DEVICE]” and adjust settings accordingly, but if you want to access these settings from your own phone then you must enable Family Sharing.

With Family Sharing you can make these adjustments from your own phone. Ensure you set a passcode so your child cannot tamper with these settings.

The following are settings you can control using Screen Time:


Downtime gives your child a reminder when it’s going to activate. Once activated, only certain apps that you’ve enabled will be active. Every other app goes to “sleep”.

Always Allowed

As the name suggests, you can allow your child to access certain apps even during Downtime (such as the phone or messages app). 

Content and Privacy restrictions

Block your child from making purchases, block inappropriate media or sites and manage their privacy settings.

Guided access

Guided access is a very useful tool that allows you to control which settings and features are available to your child

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Accessibility
  3. Activate Guided Access.
  4. Tap Passcode Settings, then tap Set Guided Access Passcode.
  5. Enter a passcode, then re-enter it for security.

Control things like accidental touch, time limits, keyboard functions, volume and much more. To activate guided access on an iPhone X or later, simply triple-click the side button to begin the session.


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